July 2, 2017

Dear Illinois:

We’re writing you today as a coalition of parents, civil rights organizations, superintendents and teachers who have been advocating for a fix to the state’s school funding formula for years. The state is on the verge of ending an era of inequitable funding in Illinois and a three-year budget impasse if members of the Illinois General Assembly vote for the comprehensive, compromise, budget package in Senate Bill 6 and Senate Bill 9 and the Governor signs Senate Bill 1.

Senate Bill 1 fixes the state’s broken funding formula and is for us, all of us. It does so in a way that ties taxpayer investment in education to the evidence of what works to enhance student achievement. We’re presenting our perspective, with our biases, straight up, not only to share the facts about Senate Bill 1 but also to share information about our values—values that we think Illinoisans share.

We value children and students everywhere. Children shouldn’t bear the burden of the mistakes of the past. That means no schools should lose money. None. That means we should invest in all our students.

And we must support our most vulnerable students.

We believe zip codes shouldn’t determine the quality of a child’s education, and property-poor areas shouldn’t be punished for being poor.

We’re all in this together. All kids in Illinois should be in the same boat and adults are captaining the ship.

We can have a new formula when schools open in August, if the Governor signs Senate Bill 1. And we can fund our schools if the General Assembly passes the budget package today. Let’s not stop now. We can put a “W” in everyone’s column if we do this now.

We urge every member of the General Assembly to vote their values—vote in support of kids and pass the budget package.

Sincerely,
Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Administrators
Dr. Jennifer Garrison, Superintendent, Sandoval School District 501
Dr. Michael A. Jacoby, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Business Officials
Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
Ginger Ostro, Executive Director, Advance Illinois
Tony Sanders, CEO, School District U-46

Fix the Formula Illinois and Funding Illinois’ Future